The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that agricultural production in Ireland will not need to be drastically reduced to tackle climate change.

Speaking on RTE Radio 1 the former Minister for Agriculture said: “You don’t need to wipe out farming to have a green agenda.”

The Tánaiste believes Irish agriculture could reduce its carbon footprint and continue to make food production more sustainable. He pointed to several actions already undertaken by the sector including dairy farmers’ membership of Origin Green and carbon footprint recording in the beef herd.

He said Ireland had a natural competitive advantage over most countries in the form of grass and that farmers knew the responsibility they had to protect the environment.

Green wave

On the back of a surge in support for Green Party candidates, particularly in Dublin, it was suggested that Fine Gael would damage its rural vote by appealing to urban voters though increased climate action.

This notion was strongly rejected by Coveney.

He said the argument was being oversimplified as an urban-rural divide and insisted rural voters also understood the pressure to address climate change.

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